Presented at WWW BIG 2016. Paper available at: http://josepmpujol.net/public/papers/big_green_tracker.pdf
Abstract: The standard approach to collect users’ activity data on the Web relies on server-side processing. This approach requires the presence of user-identifiers in order to aggregate data in sessions, which leads to tracking. Server-side aggregation is bound to produce side-effects because the scope of sessions cannot be safely limited to a particular use-case. We provide several examples of such side-effects.
To preserve privacy we propose an alternative approach based on client-side aggregation, where user-identifiers are not needed because sessions only exist on the client-side (i.e. the user’s browser). We demonstrate the feasibility of this approach by providing an implementation of a tracking agent – green-tracker – able to gather the data needed to power a service functionally equivalent to Google Analytics.